This coastal constituency, sandwiched between Middlesbrough to the south and Hartlepool to the north, is characterised by its urban, heavily industrial nature. Dr Mo Mowlam, MP for Redcar since 1987, won the seat for the third time a decade later with a majority above 21,000 whilst the Toryís majority share fell to 23%. However, Mowlam is stepping down, and is replaced as Labour candidate by Vera Baird, a London barrister.
The small coastal resort of Redcar is untypical of the seat that bares its name. This seaside town on the North Sea is the only ward that regularly returns Conservative councillors, but away from this rural and tourist friendly area, the wider constituency is far more representative of the north east.
ICI Chemical and British Steel plants at Wilton and Redcar respectively saddle the seat with a heavily industrial landscape and vast swathes of council housing. Such estates provide Labour with rock solid wards such as Grangetown, Dormanstown and Eston. Some relief to this Orwellian landscape is provided by the greenery of Redcar racecourse, but elsewhere a large oil terminal, part of Britainís third largest docks complex further blights the rugged landscape.